Wow, is Nickys in the wrong location or what? Put this place in the Financial District or North Beach or Soma and it would be getting raves.
People would be lining up around the block organic, top-grade ingredients on a brick oven rustic pizza with a crust to die for.
Stop by at the right time you can get a glimpse of the kitchen chopping up the pork for the house-made sausages. The mozzarella is house-made too and the flavor is pure goodness. Wash it down with a $7 glass of Borolo. The current menu is at the bottom of this post.
But dont put it next to Nickys Crispy Tacos with a twenty-something crowd who complains that
- the pizza is not round
- it is not New York pizza, you cant fold it
- it is not hot from the oven, they reheat it
- it isnt open late enough when you want a greasy slice after drinking
- it is not a greasy slice
- porcini, shitake and portabella mushrooms are too fru-fru
- whats gran padano?
- there is not enough sauce
One comment that says it all Nick should buy Rouge and turn the two places into one like an organic Taco Bell/Pizza Hut.
Nickys is the same style as Golden Boy, rustica foccacia-like squares with a crisp olive oil crust, brushed with sauce, lightly topped with cheese.
I confess that Im not a fan of this style of pizza. I wasnt even crazy about it in Italy because, uh, it is not round, it is not hot from the oven, there is too much crust and not enough sauce and cheese.
That being said, I think it is mislabeled. Dont call it pizza, call it foccacia and youd have people salivating over the best foccacia they ever tried. It is about overcoming the expectations that come with the word pizza with riff-raff like me.
I never tried Nickys or Golden Boy, so I did a side-by-side taste of the sausage pizza. No contest. It is like comparing Acme to Boudin. Both are good, just on different levels.
Nickys - $4.50 organic, seasonal high-quality ingredients
Golden Boy - $3 like when Golden Boy started, who knew ever heard of organic?
Sauce: It is hard to tell because this style of pizza has so little sauce. Golden Boy has a good tomato flavor but, Nickys Nickys is full of fresh herb accents and garlic. The man should open a real Italian restaurant. That sauce and that sausage on good pasta would really be something.
Cheese; Golden Boy had the standard, respectable mozzarella. The freshness and flavor popped out with Nickys. It was like buttah.
Sausage: Nickys is flat-out great, nice fennel flavor, with a bit of heat and delicious juicy meat. The slice had at least eight generous pieces of it. Golden Boy had four little pieces which was a respectable Italian hot sausage with a bit of fennel. However, again it was just in a different class from Nickys.
Crust: Golden Boy is light and yeasty. The crust is brushed with olive oil. I havent had a crust like Nickys before. It is a little chewy with lots of olive oil which gives it a crisp bottom.
Extras: Golden Boy - not much except what looked like some black pepper in the crust. Nickys had tiny touches of sweet, intensely-flavored brick-oven roasted peppers and caramelized onions. Tiny pieces of chopped fresh basil were scattered on top
Service: Nickys is just wonderful and has a friendly staff. It is the one constant on the web. Cant comment on Golden Boy because I was on the look-out for meter people so they fulfilled my requirements out quickly. No ticket.
The one BIG problem is that there is virtually no seating at Nickys. There are two side-walk tables and a few uncomfortable stools at the window. There is a long bar where you can stand to eat.
This is not the type of pizza you want to be wolfing down standing up at the bar and gulping down that glass of Borolo. The picture on cityscape below makes the place look way too large. I suppose you could order something next door at Nicks Crispy Tacos and then eat over there. Not sure if they would allow you to take a glass of wine though.
Well, I tried Golden Boy and sure, if I needed a three dollar lunch and I was in North Beach Id go back, but I wouldnt go out of my way.
Nickys? Lets say whenever Im driving up Polk and there is a parking spot even remotely in the area of Nickys, I am so there. Makes me wish I lived in the city again. I wonder if Nicky would consider Epicurious Garden in Berkeley.
Nicky's Pizzeria Rustica
2109 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tue-Wed 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Heres Nickys current menu. Pizza is $3 - $4.75 a slice. Whole pie slices are on request.
Cracked marinated olives $1.75
Winter Caprese $4.75
Nickys mozzarella, brick oven tomatoes, basil (is that a great idea or what when tomatoes are out of season, use roasted tomatoes)
Blue Lake Beans and Friends $3.75
Semi-traditional bean salad
Chilled roasted beets $4.50
Mandarins, frissee, ricotta salata, shallot vinaigrette
Hearts of Romaine $4.25
Nickys Caesar dressing, hand torn croutons, parmesan
Pears & Gorgonzola $4.50
Little lettuces, walnuts, pancetta, currants
Baby artichokes $4.75
Roasted peppers, arugula, peppers
Grilled organic chicken breast $2
Added to your salad
Tomato sauce, portabella, shitake, porcini, mozzarella
Brick-oven tomatoes, Nickys mozzarella, nicoise olives, basil
Italian Sausage and peppers
Housemade sausage, roasted peppers
Spinach and Gorgonzola
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, baby spinach, gorgonzola
Tomato sauce, mozzarella
Nickys four cheese blend
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, brick-oven tomatoes, nicoise olives, roasted peppers, anchovies
Panchetta and Caramelized Onions
Tomato sauce, mozzarella
Tomato sauce mozzarella, roasted peppers, grilled zucchini, portabella onions, caramelized onions,
Proscuitto e Arugula
Tomato sauce, mozzarella
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, brick-oven tomatoes, artichokes
List of toppings
Grana Padano (ok, I didnt know either - http://www.granapadano.it/ing/index.htm)
Housemade Italian sausage